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By Kimberly Carlton                                           Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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April 15, 2020                                         EPA Today Facebook page Follow epatoday on Twitter EPA Today Blog Icon


Graphic of the coronavirus

See more at https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus


COVID-19 hit the Bay Area on January 31 in Santa Clara County. Nearly three months later, the “novel Coronavirus” that originated in China has caused a statewide shut-down unprecedented in living memory.

While the absolute number of cases may seem low, especially compared with more familiar killers like car accidents and cancer and even seasonal flu, it moves alarmingly fast with deadly results for many. Shelter-in-place was ordered for reasons similar to why you don’t just stand still staring at an oncoming speeding train.

This pandemic calls on all of us to call up our inner reserves of courage and compassion so we can work together to end the crisis. In the Bay Area, efforts are ongoing to mobilize support for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Here are some ways you can help – yourself, your families, and your community:
1. Respect and adhere to shelter-in-place. Still, take care of yourself and your health by eating nutritious food and getting plenty of exercise (including outside in the sun, away from crowds).

2. If you must visit public places for essentials (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.), it’s a good idea to wear disposable gloves and a bandanna or mask over your nose and mouth. This isn’t 100% but does help to reduce transmission in both directions, so do it for yourself AND others.

3. Stay informed. Counties and cities are providing regular updates. For San Mateo County, go here: https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus For East Palo Alto, go to: http://www.cityofepa.org/index.aspx?NID=689 For Palo Alto, go to: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/services/public_safety/plans_andinformation/coronavirus/default.asp

4. Volunteer with Meals on Wheels. All volunteers will need to undergo a background and DMV check before starting. If you are able and interested in this important work, please contact Ann Eisenberg at 650-272-5108 or aeisenberg@penvol.org

5. Join your local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). From the website: The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks. (https://www.ready.gov/cert)

In East Palo Alto, Robert Jones is coordinating the local CERT group. You can learn more about how to help this neighborhood response effort by emailing him (bejones740@gmail.com) or calling him ((650) 704-1312).

Other resources include:

  • Phone bank:
    *#CancelEverything except kindness: Participate in Volunteer *Phone Bank - https://mon-ami.typeform.com/to/iBV2oR

    Do you know someone who has been isolated by the COVID-19 crisis?
    There are so many people, particularly seniors, not able to connect with the outside world.

    But there are lots of big-hearted folks who want to do more! If you have a loved one who would benefit from a new friend, we’ll set them up with calls by phone or video.

    They can be daily, weekly, or anything in between. And it won’t just be a
    random person each time - all our volunteers are here to make lasting
    connections. This is a completely free service and it's available now.

To sign up, start here https://mon-ami.typeform.com/to/iBV2oR.

  • The 24/7 non-medical/non-emergency COVID-19 hotline is 211.

To help reduce stress: https://www.calm.com/


Kimberly Carlton, the author of this article, is an East Palo Alto Center for Community Media board member.